Many people look forward to retirement and welcome it as a chance to do the things they have been dreaming about. For many there's also the opportunity to enjoy life at a more leisurely pace after a long career.
However, for some it may have come earlier than they thought due to age restrictions at their place of work or ill health. For everyone there's likely to be a mixture of feelings and thoughts as they start on this new chapter in their lives.
Planning is key
As with any change, planning can help smooth the transition from the old to the new. There are many areas of pre-retirement to think about and to prepare both personally and practically.
Preparing ourselves properly for anything new takes a bit of effort, and commitment. Take a moment; and think about when you first started work.
• What did you think about retirement?
• Was it something that happened to 'old people' and not to someone like you?
• Did you see a small, frail, uncertain person who sits in front of the TV until bed at 10pm? Or did you see someone still full of energy, generally fit and with many aspirations?
Don't let outdated and stereotypical images of ageing cloud your attitude to retirement. This stage of your life can be as active or leisurely as you want it to be.
Prepare your relationship for retirement.
Is Equity Release right for you? Find out more here
Look at your finances
If you're going to make the most of your retirement, financial planning is important too. Put some time aside to take stock of your finances.
• Look at your pension – are you up to speed with your most recent pension forecasts? Speak to an independent financial adviser if you're thinking of making any big decisions. You can find one at unbiased.
• Review your investments – does your investment product allow you to switch between funds? If it does are you in the best-performing fund? Also think about how much risk you're willing to take when investing.
• Check the interest rates on your savings accounts – higher rates may have only been for an initial period and since dropped. make sure you're using your full ISA allowance for tax-free savings.
Annie Shaw: 7 things to think about when creating a financial plan
Age is just a number
Most of us feel 18 and full of energy inside, even if it doesn't quite fit with what we see in the mirror. Feeling good about yourself, your achievements and your ability to manage new challenges is essential if you are going to make the most of this phase.
If you have a negative view, take a look at yourself and your friends and decide if it really fits. Think of all the people in the media, well into their sixties and seventies who lead very active lives.
But it's not just celebrities making the most of their retirement: Doris Long was 101 years old when she abseiled Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower in 2015, and holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest person to abseil – not bad for someone who only took up the activity at the age of 85! It's proof positive that when it comes to attitudes to retirement, it really is all in the mind.